PLAYBILL PICKS: The Top Theatre Stories of 2011 From Spider-Man to Sondheim to Site-Specific Shows

By Robert Simonson
23 Dec 2011

Lauren Ambrose
photo by Sam Handel

NOT SO FUNNY: Funny Girl, the 1964 musical telling of the life of Fanny Brice, was a huge hit when it opened, but hasn't been revived once. Why? Two words: Barbra Streisand. She was the original Brice, and left such a mark on the property that it's long been accepted wisdom that the show can't be mounted again on Broadway without an actress of comparable talent and profile. And who, today, can go toe to toe with Streisand? Thus, the dilemma. Still, it seemed the musical would finally see the light of Times Square again this season. The producers seemed determined. A star, Lauren Ambrose was announced. ("A shiksa?" howled some critics at the news.) But then it all fell apart. Producer Bob Boyett lost four investors and nearly $1 million. He said, "I just kept hearing from other producers, and then from my investors, that the timing was wrong and that the economic landscape wasn't right to try to do a top-level revival of Funny Girl." Director Bartlett Sher said he was "shocked" by the postponement, and Ambrose was "heartbroken." And so this parade was postposed due to rain once again. Read our special 2011 feature about a new musical being developed from Funny Girl lyricist Bob Merrill's catalog of songs.